Ultimate Fighting’s back

Program lands distrib deals in Japan, Brazil, England

The Ultimate Fighting Championship organization, which lost accreditation in many states in the late ’90s because of excessive violence in the ring, continues its comeback, having landed international-carriage deals with distribs in Japan, Brazil and England.

The programs that deliver the most revenues to UFC are the four to six pay-per-view events it produces every year at a retail price of $29.99. But only the Brazilian deal, with Globosat Programadora and SporTV in Rio de Janeiro, includes PPV along with monthly subscriptions. Wowow in Tokyo and BSkyB in the U.K. and Ireland are subscription only and include library footage and other matches. BSkyB will carry UFC’s programming as a weekly series.

Because the UFC’s rules were too loose in the ’90s, fighters were seriously injuring each other, spurring governmental authorities to ban the sport throughout the country. The owners of the UFC, Lorenzo Fertitta and Frank Fertitta, redid the rule book. Athletic commissions in New Jersey and California acknowledged the rewrites by sanctioning the events, and In Demand, the largest distributor of PPV movies and events in the U.S., signed up to carry the UFC competitions in June.

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